DEWA to mount solar rooftops on 10% of Dubai homes

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Ten per cent of homes in Dubai will receive rooftop solar as part of the 50-year charter for the emirate launched by its ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum a month ago.

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said it held a tender for the residential solar program on January 17 and has contracted six companies after 13 bidders accredited to the Shams Dubai net metering scheme took part in the procurement.

Maktoum launched his charter in January to mark the 50th anniversary of his entry into public service, days after the emirate announced an Eight Principles of Dubai pledge for future prosperity. The pledges contain nine articles and the seventh of them states an ambition for energy efficiency in 10% of Dubai homes, hence the rooftop solar bid, funded by the emirati utility.

“The project will be completed before the end of 2019, and DEWA will bear all the costs of the project, which contributes to achieving the happiness of citizens,” said DEWA chief executive Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer.

The Shams Dubai initiative was launched in 2015, to build PV capacity for commercial and industrial buildings as well as on homes. As of August, requests for more than 300 MW of net metered capacity had been filed under the program. Of this, about 50 MW have been built already. This new initiative of DEWA is bound to give residential installations in Dubai another boost.

Generously subsidized energy prices across the region hamper with the economic case of such installation and raised rather little interest for homeowners. Still, at this year’s World Future Energy Summit, in Abu Dhabi, pv magazine spoke to members of the PV industry in the region who predicted that it will not be long before the residential rooftop segment also gains traction in the region.

Traditionally, the MENA region makes headlines with some of the world’s largest utility-scale projects but has seen little activity in the residential space. The Dubai Water and Electricity Authority (DEWA) has finally launched the tender process to expand the capacity of the huge Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park – the largest solar project in the Middle East – by 900 MW. The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is planned to reach a final capacity of some 5 GW and is also set to include large-scale storage and hydrogen facilities.